Design Eye

Studio Martin on Refined Rattan

For our latest instalment of Design Eye, we introduce an emerging design studio destined for big things!

Studio Martin is a small Architecture and Design practice run by sisters Amanda and Lauren Martin, in Melbourne. Since launching their studio two and a half years ago, the sisters have developed a distinctive, refined aesthetic, often pairing lux finishes with much more relaxed and textural details – such as the use of rattan, in both commercial and residential settings.

Here the pair share their thoughts on using rattan in contemporary interiors, and introduce us to heritage Danish brand Sika Design, available exclusively at DOMO.

Lucy Feagins
Supported by DOMO

Studio Martin’s Fitzgibbon Residence, featuring the rattan  Teddy Armchair from Sika Design, available exclusively at DOMO. Photo – Martina Gemmola.

Studio Martin’s Fitzgibbon Residence, featuring the rattan  Teddy Armchair from Sika Design, available exclusively at DOMO. Photo – Martina Gemmola.

Amanda (left) and Lauren (right) of Studio Martin. Photo – Albert Chandra 

Sika Design’s Teddy Armchair, available exclusively at DOMO.

O’Brien Real Estate foyer, designed by Studio Martin, brings together lux blue velvet and Sika Design’s Belladonna sofa, and Charlottenborg lounge chair. Photo – Martina Gemmola.

Lucy Feagins
21st of October 2020

Interior Designer Amanda Martin, and her sister, Architect Lauren Martin bring a wealth of experience to their fledgling design studio, Studio Martin. Lauren completed her Masters of Architecture at RMIT, and started her Architectural career at Baldasso Cortese and later Preston Lane, working across large Education and Health Care projects, as well as smaller Residential work.

Meanwhile, Amanda studied Interior Design at Monash University, including six months at Monash’s Prato Centre in Italy. After returning to Melbourne, she landed a role at HASSELL, across a range of both residential and commercial interior design.

With these solid foundations, the sisters bring a unique and highly personalised approach to their design projects. One distinctive hallmark of their work is an unexpected juxtaposition of textures, like lux velvet and stone, with more natural, textural elements.  Working in close collaboration, they always get the balance just right!

Today we get to know this dynamic duo, and their unique take on contemporary Australian interiors.

Hi Lauren and Amanda, tell us a little about yourselves, and what led you to founding your practice together?

We are sisters, Lauren Architect, Amanda Interior Designer. We started our Architecture and Interior design studio nearly 2.5 years ago.

We grew up in what is now known as the modernist hub – Beaumaris, in Melbourne’s bayside. We are passionate about design, we love art, we love discovering new things and vintage pieces.

After each of us spent some time working in larger design firms here in Melbourne, we wanted to create our own studio –something that was ours, that we could build together and be proud of. That’s how Studio Martin was born!

Your projects have an incredible layered quality – how would you describe your aesthetic as a studio?

Basically, when we design a space it’s about a feeling, it’s about an experience, it’s about affecting your senses, it’s about leaving an impression on someone. That is how we build a project.

We do everything together. Whether it is an Architectural or Interiors project or both, we work together throughout the whole process as a team, both perspectives. We believe that planning creates the space, the space creates the experience and the materiality adds to the senses. That is layering, that is our aesthetic.

You have quite a distinctive approach to furnishings, often pairing lux finishes with much more relaxed and textural wicker pieces – such as the use of Sika Design’s Teddy Armchair in your Fitzgibbon Residence project. Tell us about this project ?

This project was a completely new build that the client had purchased off the plan. We were engaged to design the interiors and enhance the spatial experience.

Working within the building framework, our approach was to create a minimal and pared back interior, to emphasise a sense of calm. The intent was to use natural materials to create warmth. The timber battened wall panelling was carried throughout the home forming a cohesive journey through the spaces.

The Teddy armchair was the perfect fit for the project, as it complimented the use of natural materials across the project and offered a strong sculptural form within the space.

Rattan furniture is often imagined as quite rustic, retro or exclusively for use outdoors – but Sika Design’s rattan collections are surprisingly versatile and contemporary. You’ve used these pieces in a few of your projects – what do you like about them?

We love that it becomes a sculptural element, almost like a form of artwork within the space.

Sika design’s furniture is handcrafted and woven from one material – rattan, which is natural, raw and sustainable. They are an ICON, not to mention over 80 years old and counting.

In particular our must haves are the Belladonna Sofa (the ultimate love seat) designed by Franco Albini, and the Charlottenborg lounge chair, designed by Arne Jacobsen.

What’s your advice for integrating rattan or handwoven furniture in a contemporary interior – where does this style of furniture work best, and what other sort of furnishings of textures would you pair them with?

The Sika ‘Icons Collection’ are all classic pieces, and a great place to start. The material is natural and light, and can sit in any space. It can work well in a crisp minimal white interior as a statement piece, or alternatively juxtaposed with rich, bold, or solid textures, furnishings, or objects.

The beauty of the Sika products are that you can leave them as their sculptural form which is raw, but highly detailed and intricate, or dress them up with upholstery seat pads or cushions, in a retro leopard or leaf print for a bit of pop!

What do you love most about running your business together?

Working together. We do everything together. We know what each other is thinking. We have an unspoken synergy. We inspire each other to keep reaching for new creative places to go, but we also remind each other of what our roots are in our individual fields. It’s been 30 years of learning how to communicate.

What’s next for Studio Martin?

Designing buildings, spaces and objects that are truly honest, real, and creative! Oh, and having a ton of fun along the way!


For more than 30 years, DOMO has remained Australia’s exclusive stockist of prestigious design brands from Europe, and across the globe.

With showrooms in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, DOMO offers a curated collection of classic, contemporary indoor and outdoor furniture ranges that last a lifetime.

For more design inspiration, follow DOMO on Instagram here.

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